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Sufi teaching story: judging on appearances


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A man went to Imam Zainulabidin and said:

'I recognise you as my leader and teacher, and I beg to be allowed to learn from you.'

The Imam asked:

'Why do you believe that I am a leader and a teacher?'

The newcomer answered:

'I have searched all my life, and I have never found anyone with such a reputation for kindness and warmth and goodly appearance'

The Imam wept and said:

'Dear friend, how frail a thing man is, and in what danger! The very reputation and actions you attribute to me are shared with some of the worst people in the world. If all men judge only on apperances, every devil will be thought a saint, and every superior man could be made out to be an enemy of humanity'.

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